During COVID, drivers and passengers who get injured in a motor vehicle accident are sometimes reluctant to visit doctors and hospitals for fear of getting exposed to COVID-19 or they are unable to get an appointment because medical professionals are turning them away. The lack of immediate medical attention is creating what insurance companies call a gap in treatment. Not only are injured people suffering without proper treatment, but the wrongdoer’s insurance company will use that lack of treatment to argue that the person’s injuries are unrelated to the motor vehicle accident. Or, the insurance company may argue that the injured person did not do everything they could to minimize the effect of their injuries. A gap in treatment can make it more difficult to get proper compensation for accident related injuries.
As COVID-19 patients are filling hospital beds and doctors’ offices, non-coronavirus patients are avoiding hospitals. While it is usually best for those with minor injuries to avoid visiting hospitals, that does not apply to those injured in a motor vehicle accident even if the injuries appear minor at first. Hospitals are prepared for emergencies and they are forced to abide by the safety protocol that the Center for Disease Control presents and continue to make hospitals available for everyone.
When you are injured from a motor vehicle accident, it is crucial that you visit a medical professional who can treat and evaluate your injuries. It is equally important that medical professionals document your injuries to support your legal and insurance claims. If you wait and do not see a medical professional right away, it is likely that the insurance company will try to claim that your injuries are unrelated to the car accident. The insurance company and any opposing attorney will argue that your injuries were not a result of the accident, and you may not be able to receive proper compensation for your injury. If you already have a gap in care, please contact us immediately for advice on how to protect against any attempts by the insurance company for the other party to unfairly minimize the compensation you should receive.
When you are making a claim for an injury relating to a motor vehicle accident, the insurance company will open an investigation of your claim. You may need to submit an independent medical examination and include medical records to substantiate the claim that you were indeed injured from the accident and not from a separate incident. We can help you prepare for such an examination. It is critical that you understand that “independent medical exam” is a misleading term. The doctor who will examine you is employed by the insurance carrier to minimize the value of your claim. We can help you avoid the common mistakes injury victims make during independent medical exams.
If you have been turned away from a hospital for COVID or other reasons, you need to maintain a record that your request for care was deneid. You will then need to provide this record to your attorney and as a part of your insurance claim. This will help confirm that you were indeed injured and it will help with future efforts towards receiving compensation. Following a denial of care, you should immediately find another doctor or hospital that can give you a check up to record your injuries and begin care. It is helpful to call doctors offices or hospitals to ensure that they will have the capacity to properly assess your injuries.
If you are unable to drive to the hospital, inform the police officer at the accident scene and call 911 for an ambulance. If you or an uninjured passenger can safely drive, immediately go to the hospital from the accident scene. When you arrive at the hospital, wear a facemask at all times, wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, and maintain a safe distance from others.
If you are injured during a car accident, call your MSB car accident attorney. They will be able to advise you on the appropriate steps to take immediately following an accident. They will also be able to help you with the necessary steps you must take after an accident.
At MSB, we have extensive experience helping individuals injured during a car accident. You are likely not prepared for a car accident so let us take that burden on so that you can focus on recovery.